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by Peter Knegt
October 9, 2012 1:30 PM
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For Your Consideration: 10 Underdog Actresses That Deserve Oscar's Attention This Year

Nicole Kidman in 'The Paperboy'
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Say what you want about Lee Daniels' extremely divisive (though mostly negatively received) "The Paperboy," but it's hard to believe anyone could come away from that film at least admiring what could very well be Nicole Kidman's funniest and sexiest performance ever (save maybe "To Die For"). As Charlotte Bless -- a Southern woman who spends her time writing correspondence to murderers in prison -- Kidman is a true revelation and most definitely deserving of a fourth Oscar nomination. If only to say give a nomination to a performance where urination plays a large part a year after giving two best supporting actress nominations to performances involving feces.

Melanie Lynskey, Hello I Must Be Going
Nearly twenty years ago, Peter Jackson's "Heavenly Creatures" introduced the world to two promising young actresses: Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. While Winslet has clearly gone on to receive the better end of the stick, her co-star Lynskey has built an admirable career of character work in films like "Shattered Glass" and "Away We Go." And in this year's "Hello I Must Be Going," she nabs an admirable lead role as Amy, a recent divorcée who seeks refuge in the suburban Connecticut home of her parents. Part awkard and heartbreaking, part hilarious and charming, it's a career-defining performance for Lynskey.

Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Some are suggesting Emmanuelle Riva has a very good chance at a best actress nomination for her stunning work in Michael Haneke's "Amour" (she definitely is the best bet on this list), but it's far from a sure thing. Foreign language performances are nominated few and far between, and Riva's fellow countrywoman Marion Cotillard is already a good bet for "Rust and Bone." But it would be a remarkable shame if the Academy overlooks the 85 year old French legend's unforgettable work as Anne, a retired music teacher who suffers a stroke. And it would additionally be a lovely way for the Academy to celebrate Riva's career, which began in 1959 with Alain Resnais's "Hiroshima Mon Amour."


  • EBluntisfantastic | October 15, 2012 12:42 AMReply

    I think Emily BLunt deserves a nom for all her work in 2012. All her work in 2012 is amazing, she was the best in both Salmon / Engagement and deliver knockout performances in very strong movies Sister / Looper. I think she deserves to earn the praise of her peers like Anne or Natalie - she got overlooked for The Young Victoria too. Oh and btw, i read this in THR ( that Sony is probably campaigning for Emily

  • Mike | October 12, 2012 9:25 PMReply

    Just saw Amour at NYFF the other day. I, of course, haven't seen performances from movies yet to come, but at this point if I were to give out the award, Emmanuelle Riva would definitely get it. She's so remarkable. Amazing work.

  • beezzzknees | October 10, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    Thanks Peter! Imagine it would be disturbing to see the costs associated with putting someone up for a significant award. It's a real shame talented actors like Dowd and Winstead in particular to likely be excluded from possible recognition outside of the indie-focused film awards.

  • bob hawk | October 10, 2012 3:24 AMReply

    There's already conjecture that Nicole Kidman (even though she has the largest female role) might be proposed for featured category. If she ends up there -- and wins -- it will be in the grand tradition of Shirley Jones in ELMER GANTRY and Dorothy Malone in WRITTEN ON THE WIND (among others) from an era in which being deliciously trashy was a lot more sanitized than (spoiler alert?) having to take the sting out of Zac Efron's jelly-fished flesh.

  • Michael | October 9, 2012 11:07 PMReply

    Political affiliation and devotion has always plagued contemporary American society.

  • beezzzknees | October 9, 2012 3:22 PMReply

    I'd be very interested in Indiewire breaking down the economics of a campaign for an awards season contender such as these female "Underdogs". Would any small/medium sized distribs even have the means to back anyone other than Nicole Kidman/Michelle Williams level talent? Just like campaign finance reform in politics, there should be a way for deserving talent to be recognized regardless of the deep pockets of studios.

  • Peter Knegt | October 9, 2012 4:15 PM

    I'd be very interested in that too, Beezzzknees (and will suggest it to Indiewire's editorial team). And it's true, a primary reason why 7 or 8 of these women won't get nominated is indeed economics.

  • joeblack | October 9, 2012 3:14 PMReply

    What about Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha or Damsels in Distress?!

  • Peter Knegt | October 9, 2012 4:14 PM

    She's mentioned in the opening few paragraphs, actually.